Incoming communication professor brings unique expertise to campus

Communication professor Sarah Brookes may be new this semester, but she is already making a positive impact at Geneseo. Students hold her in high esteem—in her short time here, she has become a noticeable asset within the department.

Hired for her academic background and experience as well as her unique quantitative perspective on mass communication, Brookes is currently teaching COMN 102: Principles of Public Speaking, COMN 251: Mass Media & Society and COMN 388: Mass Communication & the Individual. Students in her courses enjoy Brookes’ upbeat personality and interactive style of teaching. They make the effort to approach her after class for further discussion about topics from her lessons. Students can effortlessly express excitement at the possibility of future research endeavors under her guidance.

Similarly, Brookes has found the students at Geneseo impressive and rewarding to teach. “I’m impressed with students’ engagement in the material rather than just looking for information about what’s going to be on the next exam,” she said. “I’ve been struck by the level of professionalism of the student body here. For example, the emails I receive from students are overwhelmingly polite and respectful, which means a lot to faculty.”

After receiving her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2013, Brookes taught courses at the University of Maine for the past two years. While she explained that she enjoyed her time there, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the small, close community that is Geneseo. “I went to a small private school for my bachelors, so I got used to a tight-knit community like this,” she said. “I knew I wanted to go back to something like that.”

Brookes brings a fresh outlook on the field of communication studies to the table, adding range to the department. “My quantitative social sciences perspective complements the current strengths of the department. My specific area of focus would be considered entertainment media psychology—specifically regarding mass communication, particularly entertainment communication,” Brookes said. “I work from a psychological, social sciences standpoint.”

Brookes moved to the Rochester, New York-area only a week and a half before this semester’s classes began. She was able to adjust to a new living environment and working environment simultaneously. Although she has not had an extensive amount of time to explore the Geneseo community, she noted that she has eaten at various local restaurants such as Mama Mia’s and Euro Café and loved both experiences—especially because she adores pierogies.

“I’m still getting used to the campus and the area, but so far everything’s been really great,” Brookes said. “The campus is beautiful. I don’t know that I’ll ever get tired of the view over the hills, especially during sunset.”

Brookes described her academic journey as one filled with zeal for teaching and delight for her area of study. She explained that she took an internship after earning her bachelor’s degree and credited it for her realization that she wanted to go back to school for her masters, then Ph.D. That ultimately led to her becoming a professor because she “never wanted to leave school.”

“It’s nice that my favorite thing in the world—entertainment media—has become my career and that I get to pass it on to other people,” Brookes said. “As cliché as it is, this saying is very applicable: ‘If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’”